Breakfast in the Old Country

Before coffee was introduced in the old country the breakfast consisted of a large bowl of soup made of buckwheat (R uclnveizengriitze) or oatmeal (Hafergrittze.) The dish was set in the center of the table; the master took his place at the head, standing, while the men and maids ranged themselves in order around the board, beginning with the Grossknecht and Grossmagd, (head man servant and maid servant), down to the Stalljungc (stable boy).

Each one at the table was equipped with a long-handled spoon, and the master would begin the meal by dipping his spoon into the soup and conveying a portion of it to his mouth; the rest followed suit in order of rank, and no one dared eat out of turn, but they were expected to keep a sort of rhythmic time with their spoons, just as they did with their flails when threshing grain. As each one satisfied his hunger, he dropped out of line and went back to work. Thus, any one could eat as little as he pleased, but not more than his companions, and no one could be defrauded out of his just portion.

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